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notamermaid

Will overtourism affect river cruising?

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Call it UNESCO world heritage site and they will come...

 

It is one aspect, of course not all of the problem.

 

But it has happened with me as well. A couple of years ago a Danish village was given world heritage status. Naturally I had never heard of it before. Now I want to go there.

 

Kinderdijk has just been added to the places I do not want to see. There are plenty of windmills in  the Netherlands, even if the usual purpose is grinding wheat, etc. not managing water. Last week I was given an insider's tip about a traditional water wheel mill not far from where I live. Occasionally it is nice to follow Goethe's motto and explore close to home.

 

But if you are part of the up and coming middle class of an Asian country that won't do.

 

Europe will have to grin and bear it, like I did in a souvenir shop a while ago, or do something about it.

 

It sounds as if Kinderdijk is ready to do something about it. Sharpish, according to the locals interviewed in the article.

 

notamermaid

 

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I've visited Kinderdijk twice. The first time was early April in 1992. We parked our car at the side of the road, took a couple of photos, admired the long line of windmills and carried on.  We were alone--no cruise ships, no buses, no other tourists, no gift shops, no entrance fees.  What a contrast it was the second time, again in April 2016--just as described in the BBC article. To be fair, we did get a very good explanation of the water management system which the mills support (which we didn't have on our first visit),  and at least it didn't have all the commercial hucksterism of Zaanse Schans.

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Here is the next one. Or is it? Still enjoyable or overcrowded? Prague: https://www.dw.com/en/prague-is-super-pretty-but-super-packed/a-46017033

 

I went to Prague many years ago when it was still under mild influence by the Eastern block. Impressive, enjoyable and void of herds of tourists. If I went again, it would probably be just to compare it today to what my memory tells me it was like.

 

Next serious contestant for the locals' revolt against river cruisers in particular is Heidelberg. But that is for another day.

 

notamermaid

 

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We went to Prague last May. It was incredibly crowded. Herds of tourists is an apt description.

 

We loved it and would happily return, but it was very crowded and I don't even think we were there during peak season. 

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On 11/22/2018 at 8:18 AM, notamermaid said:

Next serious contestant for the locals' revolt against river cruisers in particular is Heidelberg. But that is for another day.

 

notamermaid

 

Our Nicko cruise in April will dock in Heidelberg around 1:00 p.m. and remain in town until 10:00 p.m. I'm hoping that the crowds will clear out somewhat by the evening, and we can have a leisurely stroll around the old town.

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17 hours ago, G.M.T. said:

Will this spread along the European Rivers?

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46721456

I wondered the same thing when I read the article re: Venice. Some of the small towns along the rivers are becoming inundated with tourists and don't have the infrastructure to support such crowds.

That said, Venice seems to be in a class by itself. During the height of the tourist season, multiple cruise ships dock (some with as many as 5000 passengers per ship) and the city is bursting at the seams. During our last visit (fall), we did not arrive by cruise ship - the city was exceptionally crowded during the day but during the evening hours, Venice was quite lovely as most of the day trippers had departed. Cinque Terre experiences much the same overcrowding issues due to cruise visitors.

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I think if the small towns are smart they can achieve a win win situation. When we were on Amawaterways in Bavaria we overnighted in very small villages. We were the only ship docked. 

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Good thinking.  Seen several small towns river cruising.  Put in a dock suitable for a river ship (not a big deal) and viola! maybe you get an influx of tourists that formerly docked elsewhere.

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17 hours ago, philw1776 said:

Good thinking.  Seen several small towns river cruising.  Put in a dock suitable for a river ship (not a big deal) and viola! maybe you get an influx of tourists that formerly docked elsewhere.

 

There is a chance that it works as smoothly as that but there are hurdles that will dampen the spirits of any town. Here is what Duisburg did. In 2016 the town finished the new docking area which cost all in all 500,000 euros to build. Docking costs just under 500 euros per 24 hours per ship. For 2016 they had around 200 requests for docking (I do not know how many actually docked in the end). Duisburg was able to build a dock away from the navigation channel in a deep section close to the other port areas. A success story I would say. Elsewhere, investment could be trickier to manage. Rüdesheim built another landing stage a couple of years ago with instant success. Ludwigshafen failed to establish its landing stage successfully as it cannot be reached by large ships in low water. Bingen has a very modern landing stage that is not much in use as the ships dock in Rüdesheim instead.

 

notamermaid

 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

 

There is a chance that it works as smoothly as that but there are hurdles that will dampen the spirits of any town. Here is what Duisburg did. In 2016 the town finished the new docking area which cost all in all 500,000 euros to build. Docking costs just under 500 euros per 24 hours per ship. For 2016 they had around 200 requests for docking (I do not know how many actually docked in the end). Duisburg was able to build a dock away from the navigation channel in a deep section close to the other port areas. A success story I would say. Elsewhere, investment could be trickier to manage. Rüdesheim built another landing stage a couple of years ago with instant success. Ludwigshafen failed to establish its landing stage successfully as it cannot be reached by large ships in low water. Bingen has a very modern landing stage that is not much in use as the ships dock in Rüdesheim instead.

 

notamermaid

 

 

Reminds me of the county folks here in seacoast FL where I winter.  Built a beautiful new nature Preserve featuring waterfowl. Put an island in the center of the estuary for birds to roost and raise chicks safe from predators, coyotes, most raccoons, etc.  Only problem, they forgot about tides (not large in FL) and it floods at lunar high tide. At least the birdbrains are smart enough not to nest there. 

Edited by philw1776

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philw1776,

 

smart birds indeed. I mentioned the situation in Ludwigshafen to an acquaintance, a hydrology engineer. It baffled him as much as it did me. Quite a few landing stages suffered from August onwards, but why Ludwigshafen started with problems even earlier in the year and did not take the known factors of drought (there are statistics one can consult) into account during planning - it appears that somebody slipped up there - is a little difficult to comprehend.

 

notamermaid

 

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Now onto Heidelberg... and later some statistics

 

Heidelberg is a bit of an oddity in that it is not on the Rhine at all but suffers from perceived overtourism from river cruise tourists. This is how it started. In early Summer last year a restaurant owner decided he had had enough when river cruise tourists told him to hurry up with the food. He put up a sign: https://www.rnz.de/nachrichten/heidelberg_artikel,-joe-molese-heidelberg-warum-flusskreuzfahrer-hier-unerwuenscht-sind-_arid,364425.html

A heavy debate ensued in the town and whether or not a direct result, in the following months the local authorities' responsible personnel for tourism reacted with talking to river cruise companies to spread out the arrivals of tour busses over a wider time frame during the day. The result - reported in an article later in the year - was not satisfying. Companies will mostly stick or have to stick to the schedule and tours will still mostly operate in the morning. In late afternoon the Schloß is mentioned as being almost empty... Coaches have also been allocated a different route into town. The sign, by the way, is reported to be milder in tone now. But the problem will persist. It is not clear if the authorities actually want fewer tourists, to me a regional article from February 2018 even hails the record of over 1 million tourists to Heidelberg castle in 2017.

 

According to the authorities in Heidelberg the number of cruise ships docking in Mannheim per year rose from 500 in 2010 to 669 in 2017. Dockings only happen from mid-March to the first week in January. Accordingly, if all ships have excursions to Heidelberg, most river cruisers will see Heidelberg during that time. Travelling in off-season is an often mentioned advice for tourists. Heidelberg has a very limited off-season period I should think...

 

Talking of going in off-season. I intend to have a trip to Rüdesheim, time permitting and when the weather is half decent for winter, soon. Hoping I will be able to make my way through the Drosselgasse street of 144m in reasonable time. Is Rüdesheim really affected by overtourism? Recent articles suggest so, I am not convinced yet. Has it turned for the locals yet from busy to unbearable?

 

Although overtourism is a term that includes facts and perceived factors, it can be measured and here are some statistics: https://www.statista.com/statistics/778687/overtourism-worst-european-cities/

 

notamermaid

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Regarding 2nd tier stops:  Wertheim; we were dropped off by bus on our Viking cruise (can't remember where from), and boarded the Jarl there.  We had about an hour to wander around the town.

 

I had been to Wertheim in the past, and unfortunately not enough time to climb to the castle, or do much else.  I would be quite happy to spend an afternoon there, with the chance to visit a local bier garden along the river, or Vineyard.  Easy enough to arrange, and you'd have the place to yourself.

 

Quite a few of the European rivers have nice bike and walking paths along them...you could have a guided walk along the river, maybe 8-12 kms, visit a small town, then take the bus/train to the next town with a dock that has something else worth seeing.  Riding a bike upstream from Koblenz I saw a Viking ship docked for their visit to Marksburg Castle in Braubach, and a Uniworld ship in Boppard.  All connected by train, all worth visiting. 

 

I believe that there are quite a few alternate locations that may not wow them at home, but they are worth a visit and less crowded.  They might not appeal to all 150+ passengers, but probably a busload or so.

 

The other thing about a lot of these busy tourist towns, is if you get a chance to move a few block over, the crowds can really die out.  We noticed that in Brugge especially on our last trip, Amsterdam in the side streets of Jordan, and you're still seeing pretty cool stuff!

Edited by ural guy
your...

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"There is no overtourism in Passau"

 

But first to Amsterdam, being right there mentioned at the top of the list in Europe for overtourism, together with Venice, Dubrovnik and Barcelona. What other places may hail as a great achievement - having to do no marketing at all because you have achieved your goal - sounds more like a dire necessity in Amsterdam. Basically, stop saying that the place is worth a visit: https://www.travelweekly.com/Europe-Travel/The-Netherlands-ditches-tourism-promotion?ct=europe

 

They also call for quality tourism. O.K. what is that exactly? I can understand that they do not want their "identified tourist foe, 25-year-old British Liam who makes a nuisance of himself" - believe me, that was announced earlier this year - but do really so many travel there because of certain recreation and sparsely-dressed ladies?

 

A gentleman, who I politely but eagerly disagree with, has uttered the same thing about Passau, wanting more quality tourism - that they can never have enough of. I have never heard of the "recreation and sparsely-dressed ladies"-tourism to Passau, so what does the guy mean with quality? https://www.pnp.de/nachrichten/bayern/3225142_Was-Touristen-an-Ostbayern-schaetzen.html

 

The article says that tourism in East Bavaria has grown for the 9th year running. Very nice. Now the gentleman claims that Munich might have a problem with overtourism, Passau quite certainly has not. Hmm... He is amused when people mention Passau in the same breath as Amsterdam and Dubrovnik. Well, in 2013 I did not notice massive crowds of people, it was early in the Spring when I visited, but now, six years later, there are quite a few more ships around and land tourism has grown. Should we really ignore the problems arising in Passau, when the locals are complaining? I do not like politicians or those in power telling the locals how they should feel about herds of people running through the streets...

 

notamermaid

 

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On 1/8/2019 at 9:30 AM, notamermaid said:

philw1776,

 

smart birds indeed. I mentioned the situation in Ludwigshafen to an acquaintance, a hydrology engineer. It baffled him as much as it did me. Quite a few landing stages suffered from August onwards, but why Ludwigshafen started with problems even earlier in the year and did not take the known factors of drought (there are statistics one can consult) into account during planning - it appears that somebody slipped up there - is a little difficult to comprehend.

 

notamermaid

 

That's the port we had to hurry up onto the Ama ship so the ship could cross the river to the other side. They said the river was falling rapidly or something.

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Back to Venice...

 

https://www.dw.com/en/venice-protests-against-huge-cruise-ships/a-49112884

 

overtourism - if you want to call it thus in Venice - directly affected river cruising when a cruise ship hit a river cruise ship in a Venice canal: https://www.dw.com/en/tourists-injured-in-venice-cruise-ship-crash/a-49006717

 

I have mentioned UNESCO in an earlier post. Venice is of course a UNESCO world heritage site. Would this measure help? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/20/mayor-venice-asks-unesco-place-city-world-heritage-blacklist/

 

Other places in the world are on the list, Dresden was declared endangered has since been wiped off the heritage list (for all time probably) for having built a bridge to keep the city from collapsing in commuter traffic. Cologne was on the endangered list but put got taken off it and is still a site. The problem there was a building project that UNESCO and Cologne in the end found a solution to.

 

notamermaid

 

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Has Prague now fallen?

 

I have mentioned Prague before as a victim of mass tourism and river cruisers contribute to it. When I went to Prague I still had to be issued with a day visa several days in advance, as Czechoslovakia was behind the iron curtain. Probably more bitter but also quieter days for Prague...

 

How things have changed: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/25/prague-drunk-tourists-conquer-our-city

 

The British by the way are some of the worst offenders. I wonder how may best man' s speeches slightly risqué remarks contain the word Prague... Not proof but not exactly mere coincidence either: guess where the stag night party of the wedding I have attended recently went to, took place. I give you one guess only.

 

notamermaid

 

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I live in a tourist town (Nashville) and try to be mindful of the locals when I'm traveling.  There have always been tourists here, but the last couple of years it's felt like an invasion.  My commute home in the afternoon has gotten longer as the bus battles its way thru hordes of tourists.  We've become the Bachelorette Capital of the US, and roaming gaggles of 20 something young ladies clad in cowgirl boots, sequined cowgirl hats, and short shorts roam our neighborhoods.  What were once affordable apts. and homes are now Airbnbs. Long time residents, including many minorities, are being pushed out into the countryside where services and jobs scarce.  We're told the tourism is good for the city's economy, but when you ask why our streets are crumbling, the water pipes bursting, and the sewers overflowing, we're told there's no money.  

 

So yes, I empathize with the residents of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, etc.  Tourism is a double-edged sword.  

 

Roz

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Just watched an Anthony Bourdain episode about Porto. 16 years ago one of his first shows ever was about Porto Portugal. NOBODY went there. The place was in shambles. Now they have tourism and have fixed a lot of it up. But now it is very crowded. Yes. A double edged sword. 

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Agree it is a shame when mass tourism takes over places.

Often the locations lose their identity and culture and become unpleasant to visit with crowds and inflated prices. Ugly and places to avoid.

Fortunately with research its possible to seek places worth visiting.

These are  often frequented by locals who value their community. We try to find such places on our travels, and avoid tourist traps with crowds and often expensive and poor food options. 

Sometimes it means you need to move away into quieter areas of the towns.

of course that takes time and not always possible especially if herded in large groups into the small towns in Europe.  

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I will add another world heritage site to the list, again a city and again on a canal and a river. The city is Bath we live very close but very rarely go there during the summer or the Christmas market. The city is being taken over by airb&bs the canal is blocked up by people on boats who want to live in an expensive city cheaply which means that cruising boats cannot find a mooring. I’m not talking huge cruise ships here just personal narrow boats and hotel boats. One challenge is our Asian friends who come in their droves, panic if they loose sight of their guide, walk backwards looking up and wield selfie sticks like samurai warriors. Plus I must admit hen and stag parties, so we are only to well aware of what some of our people inflict on other European city’s.

It has become a difficult decision when asked to back a recommendation for a structure or area be listed as an ancient monument or sssi wether to do so or not as in some instances it could actually be detrimental to the site or area. 

It needs a lot of thought. CA

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Canal archive,

I remember you mentioning Bath before as being very crowded. It is sad if it clogs up the river now. I still plan to go to Bath. Thank you about the modern samurai warrior warning... I could not believe how many there were in Durham when I visited four years ago. But then, it is also a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

Sadly, I think I have closed the Prague chapter for myself. No desire to revisit. And the beer is just as nice in Plzen.

 

I don't know how many young girls think these days, but this idea of getting drunk in a group as your last chance to be wild, a bit odd to me. I never did that, it seems a relatively new thing, never used to see hen parties collecting money for the bride from unknown passers-by. In Düsseldorf Altstadt with all the pubs, groups of women, hen parties or not, are banned from doing organized pub crawls. Not just men behaving badly!

 

notamermaid

 

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